Think you might have a food intolerance? With conditions like lactose intolerance, and wheat intolerance becoming catch phrases in popular culture, these dietary concerns seem to have become commonplace.
A food intolerance is what results when your body has an autoimmune response to a particular substance.
It can be hard to diagnose the condition, as sufferers often don't relate the food they've recently eaten to the pain they feel. So how can you be sure you've got a food intolerance? And how can you alter your diet so that you can lead a normal life?
This puzzling and often severe condition is what happens when your own immune system mistakes an edible substance for an invader that it should attack. The first time the food is eaten, your body mistakenly records it as being an unhealthy substance, like bacteria or viruses.
Your immune system then releases reactive T-cells. This leads irritation to the intestinal tract, and can result in an increase in mucous, and a lessened ability to absorb nutrients. Some symptoms caused by different foods include: Inflammation or irritation of the bowels, diarrhoea, cramping, constipation, headaches and malnutrition.
If you suspect you may be having this type of reaction, visit your GP immediately. Your GP will run tests that will involve removing certain foods from your diet for a while to see if the symptoms disappear. These foods will then be re-introduced to see if the symptoms return. If they do, you probably have a difficulty with that food.
The only real solution for sufferers is to eliminate all foods containing the offending food. Luckily for sufferers, there are many foods on the market today that cater to those with special dietary needs. You can also visit discussion boards online, or join one of numerous support groups that offer the opportunity to share experiences with fellow sufferers. If you have real difficulty adjusting your diet, talk to your GP or a qualified nutritionist, who can offer some guidance.